TI to put floating point in every DSP core
11/9/2010 8:00 AM EST
Base station market
So, what’s the landscape for the base station market today?
continues as number one, followed by Freescale and LSI Corp., according
to Forward Concepts’ Strauss. Earlier this year, Strauss observed TI
garnering a 61 percent of the wireless infrastructure DSP market, followed by Freescale at 16%, LSI at 9% and Others (including Fujitsu, NEC, etc.) at 14%.
Many analysts note that Freescale has become a formidable competitor to TI. Joseph
Byrne, senior analyst at the Linley Group, said, “Freescale has done
well recently on the strength of its products.” Freescale was early with
a 45nm DSP and used this process-technology advantage to
integrate on a single chip more DSP cores than TI, and ‘MAPLE-B’
coprocessor that offloads certain functions related to baseband
processing, he added.
Indeed, “while many thought TI had
locked up the base station market at one point, Freescale made a
successful bid to it – in the LTE/4G market – over the last two years,”
said BDTI’s Bier. Freescale’s success inspired others like
“Mindspeed Technologies and LSI Logic to take some pieces of the
action,” Bier added.
While nothing is announced, Intel, too, has made
clear overtures toward the base station market, according to Bier.
Intel, at the SDR conference a year ago, unveiled its SDR implementation in wireless base stations, using Intel’s PC processors.
also noted that FPGAs continue to have “a significant role in the base
station market.” Even though TI swears that their newest chip ‘doesn't
require FPGAs, Strauss said, “Every time I peek into the base
station, there are a number of FPGAs...sometimes employed as RF down
converters, which is still a necessary DSP function, but not as part of the baseband.”
competition intensifies, each player needs to get even more creative in
new product offerings. The issue is how future base-station SoCs handle
not just the physical (Layer 1) and data link layers (Layer 2) but the network layer (Layer 3) and above in the OSI model.
TI’s new base station SoC, TI’s engineering team integrated an
autonomous packet processing engine and programmable DSPs enabling full
multicore entitlement, in addition to the filed proven PHY technology where TI’s legacy strength lies.
meanwhile, has a distinct edge in its network processors, which have
remained separate products thus far. Industry analysts like Bier are
closely watching when and how Freescale may integrate such network processing functions into base station products.